On their debut EP, Distance is a Mirror, Public Practice manage to rush through a master class in 20th century punk music in only four tracks.
That might be a slight overstatement. The Brooklyn quartet stretch into a range of different strands from the punk genre, but there is a guiding line throughout, a tendency toward tight, angular grooves driving an invigorating, at times intimidating, vocal performance.
It’s hard not to be drawn in by frontwoman Sam York, who along with guitarist Vince McClelland, previously played in the excellent but short-lived post-punk band WALL. Her delivery towers across the music with a rare sense of presence and power. York seems to be the voice rallying Public Practice as the others, bassist/synth player Drew Citron and drummer Scott Rosenthal, round out the band and unite behind her.
The root sound of Distance is a Mirror seems to expand from where WALL left off. Opening track “Fate/Glory” follows through with that taut post-punk sound, supplying a bass-driven backing to intermittently chaotic guitar.
“Bad Girl” continues that train of thought with a jittery rhythm leading into the hooky, almost Sleater Kinney-esque chorus repetition of the titular phrase; it’s a clear standout from the EP. “Foundation” nearly rivals that with a Talking Heads style adventure into lightly funky punk-pop before the EP closes with “Into the Ring,” a more straightforward but perhaps modern ending.
It’s a brief yet strong introduction for the band, one that displays a breadth but leaves things unsettled enough for a direction to continue to take shape.